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CB7 chair to join Councilman Cabrera

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Sedgwick Avenue resident Greg Faulkner has proven to be an outspoken leader as chair of Community Board 7, weighing in on employment at the Croton Water Filtration Plant, neighborhood crime and the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory since 2004.

So imagine what influence the energetic Faulkner will wield in January, when he steps down as a CB7 volunteer to become chief of staff for Councilman-elect Fernando Cabrera, the 14th Council District Democrat said. Cabrera is Faulkner’s pastor and friend.

“Greg is a tremendous individual,” Cabrera said. “He’s taken CB7 to a new level. He does great work at LaGuardia. He’s in touch – he has the pulse of the community.”

When Cabrera takes office, Faulkner will step down from his job as director of student life at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. The 25-year Bronx resident, raised in Harlem, helped Cabrera defeat 14th Council District incumbent Maria Baez in the September Democratic primary.

Cabrera won the support of the Bronx County Democratic Party but took flak for his past as a registered Republican and his house in Westchester County. The councilman-elect is also a resident of Sedgwick Avenue today. It was Faulkner who originally urged Cabrera to run.

“When we started the campaign, it was only the two of us,” Faulkner said. “It was a dream.”

Cabrera asked Faulkner to join his City Hall team after the November general election; the CB7 chair is eager to “dig into” constituent issues – crooked landlords, speed humps and traffic lights, he said. Faulkner isn’t the most experienced political aide but seems to have enjoyed his first taste of City Hall and Bronx intrigue.

“I’m so glad Greg agreed,” Cabrera said. “We have a great relationsh­ip.”

Cabrera and Faulkner want to open a friendly and busy district office, and tackle the most mundane constituent problems, Faulkner said. The pair hopes to find a storefront on Burnside Avenue but is also eyeing Fordham Road and University Avenue. Cabrera praised Faulkner’s ability to negotiate and his leadership on the Kingsbridge Armory.

Faulkner led a series of successful public hearings on the landmark’s future but came under criticism from the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance when he steered CB7 to a conditional yes vote on The Related Companies’ shopping mall plan. Related has yet to sign a community benefits agreements, one of the conditions named by CB7.

CB7 first vice chair and Norwood resident Paul Foster will take over for Faulkner in January and is Faulkner’s pick to stay on as chair when CB7 holds its elections in the spring.

“I think he’s going to be fantastic [as Cabrera’s chief of staff],” CB7 member Lowell Green said of Faulkner. “He’s a dynamic individual and has invigorated the board.”

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group